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Problem

While I was recently helping my mother prepare her garden for the spring, I discovered that the leak on her porch was not actually coming from the overhang above the door, but rather from a branch of her grapevine.

Observations

  • Examining closely, it looks like one part of the grapevine (which was planted two summers ago), is leaking what looks like water from an end that has a clean cut (it was probably cut a while ago).

  • In addition to the clear liquid, there is a slimy (not frothy) white substance from the cut end, down to the point where the liquid drips off the vine, which looks a lot like mucus or something, but is not thick or sticky because it wipes off quite easily (but it seems to build back up quickly).

  • The drip has been going (slowly) for a week or two but got intense recently and is of sufficient quantity that there is a fair sized puddle on the shelf under it.

  • I took some pictures. The white stuff is definitely not foamy like the stuff that some bugs leave on plants; it is slimy. The fluid is definitely coming out of the end (#) but that is not the only end that is cut, there are a few others (some on the same branch, and one pretty close that is even facing downwards) which are not leaking. It’s not clear if the white stuff is coming out of the branch or just building up on it (like mold that builds up due to moisture).

  • In addition to the unexpected white goo, she is worried about the sheer volume of liquid coming out. As you can see, there is a substantial amount coming out (the 1L mason jar is nearly half full after ~16 hours). She said she tasted the clear liquid (actually it is slightly cloudy), and it tasted like water. She is worried that it is essentially leaking the liquid (read bleeding) instead of actually making use of it to grow and live.

Attempted Diagnosis

I tried Googling this but could find nothing anything useful. The closest pages discuss leakage of general water and sap, and there is a page that shows the same problem with a white goo, but without a resolution.

Possible related information includes that there were little beetles on the grapevine last year (though we have not seen any—yet—this year, and there was no white goo last year). Also, the weather has been pretty cold here and only just warmed up today (May 1), and has cycled between high and low temperatures several times in the past few months.

Possible Actions and Concerns

There are three obvious moves:

  1. Do nothing. This is natural, but it would allow the plant to keep leaking which could be a problem.

  2. Cap the leaking end. This makes sense, but if it is an infection or something, it would trap it inside the plant.

  3. Cut the whole sub-branch. This also seems logical, but would be excessive if it is not a problem.

Basically, the action to take depends on a diagnosis on whether or not the excessive leaking and white slime is bad.

Update

The leaking got intense on Thursday and continued unabated throughout the weekend. By Tuesday it had stopped and the white slime had dried up.

Question

Does anyone know what this is, whether it is/was a problem, and how to fix it/prevent it in the future?

1L Mason Jar ~half full of liquid enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • Photos might help but if it has a clean cut, it might be it was cut once the sap was up - vines 'bleed' like mad if cut at the wrong time. Immersing the cut end in water for some hours sometimes helps, but this is usually done immediately after cutting, so not sure it'll work now, and infection may have got in already. Does it smell nasty? – Bamboo May 1 '13 at 20:54
  • This question is similar (except for the viscosity) and the photo is the same. I’ll post a photo and check the smell today or tomorrow. – Synetech May 1 '13 at 21:10
  • Just commenting to state how fascinated I am by this. I hope it gets solved. I have had spittle bugs before in Ohio. They do not look like that. – Evil Elf May 8 '13 at 17:30
  • For the record, it had stopped, then started again with another part that got nicked somehow. Eventually it stopped altogether (I think she said she was trying hard to prevent any cuts). Currently, the grapevine seems to be doing pretty well (it is late summer). It has a few bunches of grapes that are starting to turn purple, but they are pretty small (probably because they get little sun because they are shaded by its own leaves ¬_¬). – Synetech Sep 6 '13 at 1:09
  • My grapes appear to be "slobbering" as well. I've seen this on various plants many times in the past, so I didn't make much of it, but just happened to see this question. In my case, the deer have been munching on the leaves. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that the grapes grow so fast and have to pump so much fluid up from the roots that they bleed when cut. – Randy Sep 6 '13 at 7:30
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This is perfectly normal for grape and muscadine vines. During dormant season the roots continue to take up water. if you prune or damage a cane before foliage buds out, the water has to go somewhere, so it just drips out. Sometimes it may have a foamy or slimy look. There is nothing wrong with it and you shouldn't do anything to try to stop it.

  • But that much‽ ಠ_ఠ – Synetech May 11 '14 at 2:25
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    it can be surprising how much will come out. it can be a combination of type of vine, soil moisture and daytime temperature. – user76732 May 14 '14 at 1:29
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Have you tried spraying soap on them? Shouldn't harm the vine. Thats what i'm going to try.

  • They went away on their own last year, but my concern was why it happened (and whether it was a problem), not how to clean it. – Synetech May 11 '14 at 2:24
  • I wasn't meaning to clean it with soap. The theory is that the soap makes the creepies slip off the plant they are eating! – Adam Spence May 13 '14 at 15:36
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If it isn't smelling nasty, burn the cut end where the fluid is leaking from. This may be enough to stop the bleeding, and if no infection has set in, the plant should recover. Got this information from a forum on pruning grapevines, no idea if it works, not tried it.

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    My concern is that if it is/was an infection or something, cauterizing it like that would trap the disease in the plant instead of letting it eject it. – Synetech May 8 '13 at 16:24
  • If i ts infected, it'll have spread through the vascular system by now anyway, and if you don't stop the bleeding, it will weaken the plant and may cause death. – Bamboo May 8 '13 at 21:30

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